This band has been around forever. They have hired, fired, re-hired and re-fired all kinds of people. There were guitarist, keyboard players, bassists, singers, egomaniacs, hustlers, drunks, and crooks. These guys all left a piece of themselves when they exited. Good or bad.
And, there were gigs. A lot of gigs. Gigs at festivals, gigs in fields, gigs in basements, gigs at weddings, gigs in parking lots, gigs at ski resorts and gigs at large venues…but mostly, gigs in bars. Almost 2000 of them at last count. Never letting up. Never slowing down.
I have been seeing them play for over 10 years. I can honestly say that I had the same feeling in the basement of a dirty bar, in the middle of the woods, in 1995, when I heard Grinning Mob, as I did when I saw George Clinton or Sonic Youth or The Allman Brothers for the first time. They were raw, unassuming, no-name rock stars playing in a basement, not giving a damn about a record label, or image, or any of that sort of thing. It wasn’t even a thought or an option. It was just there and now.
Now, I am in the band. Only one of these guys was playing in that bar in 1995. Only one of us is in our twenties. And, the same things matters now that mattered in the past. Take all of this history. All of our influences. All of our experiences. All of our gigs. All of everything. This is where we are today. We are serious, committed, happy, sad, young, old, triumphant, tragic, lucid, loud, soft, thankful, angry, connected and alone. And, we are still playing a lot of gigs.
But, we realized together, that what the band has built and become has its limits. Our name doesn’t reach as far in mileage as it does in local legend. It has made a living for a few people along the way. But, we all can’t help but wonder if it has reached its peak. We know it has touched a few people. It has packed some bars, kept its following, and had longevity. But, no great effort has been made to explore the possibilities.
There is some sort of fire we are fighting, some sort of undertow that we are struggling against. We are writing, recording and performing new material with a new line up. Yet, it is our swan song. It is the beginning and the end of our band. We are going to record, go on the road and show it to new people. We are going to test its limits. We will see if it has the same effect that it has in the bars. Our hearts and souls are in a new record and a new approach. We are going to see how it plays out. The future is wide open. We believe in what we are doing and are excited as hell.